Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Opinions: I spent a week without the Internet, and you can too

Some people like drugs. Some people like alcohol. Some people like sex.

My over-indulgence is the Internet. I can stare vacantly into the screen for hours talking to friends over instant messageming, checking my e-mail and perusing Craigslist missed connection ads. I used to check my MySpace and Facebook accounts dozens of times a day until I decided to delete them to help break my addiction.

It didn't help, really. I just ended up checking my e-mail dozens of times instead, hoping a Facebook friend might e-mail me to see if I'm still alive. No luck. I only get angry Internet geeks e-mailing me these days, but that's another story entirely.

But then, a miracle happened. My computer died — like, really died. My lovely little high school graduation gift sat there lifeless, with only a black screen and a white arrow cursor. I'm pretty sure in the world of computers, that's the equivalent of a flat line on a heart monitor.

At first I was devastated, then overwhelmed with happiness and contentment. This is what I imagine a heroine addict feels at an intervention. Or at least that's what I've seen on the A&E show "Intervention."

This was my time to break away, and I was going to take it — never mind that my computer malfunction happened a week before finals. This was my chance, and it was wonderful.

I laid out the ground rules. I was only to check my e-mail at school for no more than 10 minutes, only responding to school and journalism inquiries so I don't fall behind in my work. The rest of my time had to be filled with activities I used to enjoy before I became a pale and pasty Internet enthusiast.

For the first time this semester, I opened a book that wasn't required reading for class. It was Ian McEwan's beautifully written book "Atonement," which I bought my freshman year — long before the movie was made, thank you. And then I remembered that I actually enjoy reading.

I became an old-time blues man as I picked up the ol' acoustic and sat on my porch, undoubtedly annoying my neighbors with my overly simple tunes and used-to-be-pretty, but now-slightly-off-pitch voice. Sadly for them, this was my favorite old-but-new activity of my Internet-free week.

I became enraged as my roommate came into the apartment with two Guitar Hero "guitars" in her hands, but quickly became addicted to the game after a few strawberry margaritas. I can rock that game like you wouldn't imagine.

But since I was breaking my Internet addiction, I needed to stay away from this kind of computer-generated interactive fun. So instead, I decided to spend some quality time with my mom, free from distractions.

I know I'm not the only one who has been seduced into the appealing lure of the Internet — I constantly watch friends obsessively check their Facebook news feed, even while one of their real friends is sitting beside them watching.

In my news-writing class last week, my teacher was discussing computer-assisted reporting. She pointed out that while the Internet is a useful tool to track down leads and potentially find stories; the great stories haven't been discovered yet. They're out in the "real world."

That really resonated with me.

This week, Channel 12 did a report on the use of "LOL" and smiley emoticons in junior high and high school essays. While I am only 20, I can remember a time without Internet.

Today's junior high and high school students grew up with the virtual second world we call the World Wide Web. For them, "LOL" is a legitimate word. I don't find this stupid or immature on their part. I think it's a sad failure on the part of a society that supports this kind of ignorance.

With that said, I'll leave you with my epiphany — the Internet is a useful learning tool, but it can also be incredibly toxic. From now on, I choose to utilize the Internet for its positive tools only — and, maybe to Google pictures of Luke Wilson.

I'm taking time to experience really real things this summer.

E-mail me your ideas at:

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.